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05/13/2009

Department of the Interior Plans for Climate Change

This past Monday, Sierra Club staff met with a science advisor at the Department of the Interior to discuss the agency's plans for mitigating the effects of climate change on its lands.  It appears that the department is prepared to take a leadership role in the government's adaptation response to a warming world.  This will be crucial as they are the agency that manages 20% of the land mass in our country as well being responsible for millions of acres of private lands in regards to the Endangered Species Act and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.  Just as important, however, is that the agency has expertise in the very issues that are central to creating resilient habitats: climate change, adaptive management, ecosystem services, and biological carbon sequestration.

On March 11, 2009 the department created the Energy and Climate Task Force by Secretarial Order.  That task force is currently working to develop a national climate strategy to track environmental changes caused by global warming, translate that science into adpatation management strategies, and study and implement greenhouse gas reduction strategies through biological carbon sequestration.  To conserve and protect lands and wildlife in the reality of a warmer world, it is absolutely critical to have the nation's largest land management agency on board and all indications point to that being the case.

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